424 W. Main Street,
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Rialto Theater, Denison (Official)
Previously operated by: Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc.
Architects: John Tullock
Functions: Concerts, Live Music Venue, Movies (Classic)
Previous Names: Rialto Theatre
News About This Theater
- Mar 24, 2014 — Rialto up for sale
The largest theatre in the small town (about 20,000 population) of Denison, it was the first run movie palace in the city from the time it was built in 1920, and it opened on August 4, 1920, billing itself as “Denison’s All-Time Greatest Movie Palace”. It was built by L.M. Rideouton but was sold to the Interstate Theatres Inc. chain in 1935. On August 25, 1948 the World Premiere of Howard Hawks western “Red River” starring John Wayne was held at the Rialto Theatre. Interstate operated the theatre through the 1960’s, but by the time it closed in August 1977, it was locally owned.
It had a revival in the early-1980’s, again showing first run films, but the local owner could not compete with the multi-screen theatre located in a nearby shopping mall. Sometime in the 1990’s, the Rialto Theater was turned into a concert setting and is still open today – balcony and all – and weekly live country music shows are staged there.
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A photo from August 25th, 1948 of the Rialto Theater in Denison featuring a world premier engagement of “Red River”
“Red River” returns to the Rialto in 1982, 34 years after its world premier in Denison.
A photo of the World Premiere of Red River in Denison in 1948
A great book detailing the history of all 30+ of Denison’s movie theaters is THEATER ROW: MOVIE PALACES OF DENISON, TEXAS, by Billy Holcomb (Denison Heritage Inc., 1999). Has a whole chapter on the Rialto. Over 100 photos. Epilogue by Donna Hord Hunt.
Was in Denison this week (11-22-10) & Sadly, the RIALTO is now closed. I’m going back Next Monday (11-29-10) to get some updated shots of This Theatre & some other Stuctures as well. See if any other Former Theatre Structures are at least still standing, using the address’s that are on this site.
Randy A Carlisle
The Rialto has been remodeled and is having it’s sold out Grand Opening Premiere this Valentine’s Day 02-14-2012: showing Dirty Dancing.
A photo I took back in Novemeber of 2010 can be seen here..
Same photo as the one above Randy A Carlisle – Historical Photographer
Hi there everyone. I’m the current manager of the Rialto and I just wanted to let you all know that we are open and running once again. I found this page as I was researching the theater and its history.I would love if anyone who has photos, stories, and/or inquiries for the theater get back to me at
Not Just It Showed Concerts And Live Music Venue, They Also Screened Classic Films And Special Screenings Every Saturday.
John Tullock of Sherman, Texas was the architect.